Monday, May 26, 2014

Two-week Update

It's been more than two weeks since my last post! Well, the blog has not been a priority lately, there are so many things going on: work deadlines, writing papers, business travels, getting our house ready for rental, showing house to and interviewing/screening potential tenants, son's travel team soccer games and tryouts, SOL exams, first communion preparations, etc. Whew! That's just to name a few.

Anyway, the house is coming along great. So much progress have happened in the past two weeks. We have passed inspection for framing, insulation, electrical and plumbing rough-ins. We also had our pre-drywall meeting (which I would like to thank our PS for accommodating our request for a pre-drywall meeting after work hours). At this time, drywall is up all over the house. We also met our neighbor who owns a Palermo elevation A with 3-car side garage, although theirs is not a reverse plan. They are very wonderful to tour us inside their home and it's nice to see a finished Palermo that isn't a model home. They also have a son who is just a year older than my son and who plays soccer too. Isn't that great?

Amidst the progress in the construction, of course there are some minor disappointments here and there. Our area experienced heavy rains too that flooded our basement a couple of times in two weeks. I feel like I should write in another post all of my rants and issues in the construction, but for now here are some pics of the progression so far.

Beams in the garage. Happy that we won't have a load-bearing wall separating the single bay from the double bay as our Sr initially told us.

Studs 14" apart

Side garage

Both floors have been framed.

Flood in the exit stairwell. Doors are in.

Looking through the great room and first floor bedroom from the kitchen.

HVAC and plumbing eat up a lot of space in the basement.

Stairs to the basement.

Ductwork in the attic


Garage is drywalled


Upstairs hallway view from master bedroom. Left door is bedroom 4. Door to right is laundry.

Unfinished basement is insulated.

Bonus room windows.
Brickwork has also started.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rate locked in and closing costs info

We locked in our rate yesterday. Forecast is that rates will go higher by the end of the year and looking at the trend last year, lowest interest rates were between April to early May. But REALLY no one knows what's going to happen with the rates! We are just tired of risking so we locked in after 3 days of getting a daily email from our LO. Our rate is about 0.125% lower than the rate when we signed our contract in January so at least that's good.

Conventional 30-yr fixed mortgage rates averaged about 4.25% yesterday and we locked ours in at a slightly higher rate than that. We are putting less than 20% down so we are required to pay about $200+ for PMI. To avoid this monthly PMI, we opted for the lender paid mortgage insurance (LPMI) for a slightly higher rate, which after thorough analysis would be more cost effective for us.

We refinanced our current home at 3.25% so not totally happy with our new rate but at least it's still lower than the rate we got when we first bought our house in 2006 which was 6.375%.

I also contacted NVR settlement service (NVRSS) to give me exact fees that I need to pay for closing. They gave me an HUD with the list of their fees, which are high so I called several title companies to get quotes for closing fees and owner's and lender insurance, etc. I forwarded the quotes to NVRSS and yes they beat the quotes from the other title companies. So that's saving us close to $800 in closing costs.

If you are building in VA, the Grantor's tax, which is calculated as 0.1% of the purchase price of the home, is usually paid by the seller. However, it is built in Ryan Homes contract that buyers pay it. For those still negotiating, you could have Ryan pay this tax. Too late for us, that could have saved us another $400+.

Update: Progress pics and some issues

Here are the pics for May 2-9 progress:

May 2nd

After the plumbing was reinspected by the county, the long awaited concrete slab was poured.

Garage Slab
Crew installing basement slab

May 4th
The crew has started framing the first floor on Friday so we went to the site on Sunday to check on their work. Overall, it's looking good although they have not entirely finished all the work yet. We did see some issues that we thought needed to be fixed so we emailed our PS early Monday morning.

Floor joists

First, we found two deep cuts in the outer wood frame at the rear of the house. The cuts were more than halfway the width of the wood.
Issue 1: One of the two cuts in the outer wood frame.

PS said that the forces acting on the joist system are compressional and not tensional, so he didn't think the cuts would be an issue, but just to be safe he had them reinforced with extra 2"x10"
material from the inside shown in the two pics below.



Second, we saw several gaps between the joists and the outer wood frame as shown in the pic below.
Issue 2: Gap between joists and outer wood frame
PS said that the gaps are well within tolerances and will not affect the structural integrity of the home. Okay.

The third issue was a  major one. We noticed that the steel beam (right side in the pic below) was a little short. As you can see, it doesn't go all the way to the end of the last joist before the opening for the basement stairs. Hubby came back the next day with his tools to measure the beam and found that it was about 4 inches shorter than the measurement specified in the blueprint.
Issue 3: Steel beam cut too short

PS replied that it's actually not the beam that is short but the hole (where the support steel pole is going to be placed) is slightly off center. They will make the hole wider so the beams will be set and secured in place. Shown below is the wider hole that they plan to create that they marked with a Sharpie.

They marked the floor for creating a wider hole

Upon reading this reply email from PS, hubby immediately called the PS to let him know that he wants to meet with him and discuss this issue before creating wider holes. So hubby took the morning off to go to the site. PS showed up with the PM, and upon inspection, PM agreed 100% with hubby that the beams are too short and need to be replaced. Beams have been delivered as of May 7th.

May 8th
Subfloors have been put in and some of the 1st floor walls have been put up.

May 9th
Most of the first floor have been framed.

Beams in the garage.
More framing.

Roof trusses have arrived

Morning room sliding door frame

Some windows and house wrap

Thursday, May 1, 2014

2014 Time capsule

We plan to go to the site tonight to bury a time capsule under our house. Last night, we filled a time capsule with small things/mementos of the year 2014, such as a gold coin, my son's bakugan (lol), unpaired earring and a family picture with our names. It would be cool if somebody finds it 100 years from now.

Update: Waiting for slab

It has been raining so construction is a little slow this week:

The county approved the plumbing rough-in on Monday April 28th and therefore slab will be poured in shortly (whenever rain stops). Crew put in 4" of gravel, plastic sheet and steel reinforcements before slab will be poured in.

Basement with bath rough-in ready for concrete slab

In the picture above, the sump pump is the rightmost plumbing fixture. This is not the original location of the sump pump in the floor plan, but PS made a decision to move it here as shown in the pic so that sump pump is not in the way of future finished space. Makes perfect sense to me, but I remembered that there is also a furnace somewhere in that area too. Well, he thought that our furnace will be located in the attic but he will check with PM just to be sure.

We drove by Monday evening to see that our lumber has been delivered and was left uncovered in the rain. Persistent rain (it's been raining for 4 days!) got me concerned about molds and rotting wood so I emailed the PS that I was unhappy that our lumber was left uncovered whereas lumber from other lots were covered with plastic.

Our lumber getting soaked :(

Lumber in the next lot covered in plastic / tarp

PS emailed me Tuesday at 6:30am that our lumber is now covered. He also said that most of the lumber is salt treated and that the sheet or two of plywood that is on the top of the stack is typically thrown away and the rest is just fine. He also reassured me that they conduct mold inspections at 4 different times during construction. Okay.

Our (already soaked) lumber now covered

For Wednesday's update, PS emailed me that plumber had to move the sump pump back in its original floor plan location because in its current location, it would interfere with the HVAC duct work. Tsk tsk tsk.

Sump pump moved to original plan layout

I asked if there's going to be another inspection but PS said that it's unnecessary because only a small portion of the plastic and steel was pulled back. What about the new plumbing work? Hmmm, what do you think? (Update: After telling PS that I won't be happy until the new minor plumbing work is inspected again, he ordered another county inspection for the plumbing, which has been already approved today 5/2.)

This morning, got a pic email of our wet basement.


Hopefully rain stops tomorrow so they could pour the conrete slab and then move on to framing by next week. I also got an email from the PM that we are within 60 days of closing that's tentatively scheduled on June 21st. So I need to start monitoring interest rates as we should be locking soon. I also need to advertise our current home for rental. Oh no where did the time go?